About those so-called 100 million Windows 8 sales

“If you can believe Microsoft, over 100 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold so far,” Gene Steinberg writes for The tech Night Owl. “This number is consistent with the initial uptake of Windows 7, so you have to wonder how these figures are being collected, since PC sales continue to decline.”

“Microsoft earns most of its keep selling software licenses to OEMs, who bundle Windows with a new PC, any PC. So, yes, I suppose it’s possible that Microsoft has booked 100 million sales into its ledgers. But that doesn’t mean that 100 million copies of Windows 8, or anything close to that number, are in the hands of end users,” Steinberg writes. “It may also be true that there are tens of millions of unsold PCs in the channel. But that doesn’t matter to Microsoft, since a sale is a sale even if nobody is actually using the product.”

Steinberg writes, “This is similar to the IDC survey reporting that the percentage of Android tablets sold now exceeds the iPad, which is left with less than 40% of the market. Whereas Apple reports real sales, most of the other companies are reporting units shipped. It’s very easy to rack up a couple of million or so of each model just to reach all the resellers and distributors. It doesn’t mean all that product is actually sold, and it would be curious to see how many are eventually disposed of at fire sales, or returned to the manufacturer, depending on their return policies.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Microsoft offers no apology for Windows 8, promises better with Windows Blue (Screen of Death) – May 7, 2013
Windows 8ista: Microsoft admits failure – May 7, 2013
Microsoft partners say Windows 8 caused ‘millions of customers’ to switch to Apple – April 18, 2013
Stick a fork in Microsoft’s Windows, it’s done – April 17, 2013
Apple Macintosh owns 45% of PC market profits – April 16, 2013
Steve Jobs’ revenge – April 12, 2013
Microsoft’s stock takes beating after putrid Windows PC shipment reports – April 11, 2013
Apple Macintosh on the rise as Windows PC market plummets – April 11, 2013
Gartner: PC Market posts 11.2 percent decline in Q113; Apple Mac sales up 7.4 percent in U.S. – April 10, 2013
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


  1. There are 50 million shrink wrapped unopened Windows 8 DVDs stacked up in Ballmer’s backyard which were recorded as sales by MS’s sales (aka channel stuffing) dept.

    Another 25 million is sitting in the bottom of Bill Gates’ swimming pool as ornamentation in lieu of pool tiles.

    Another 25 million was stuffed down Sinofsky’s trousers as a going away present in lieu of a parting bonus.

    So far they’ve only sold one copy of Windows 8…to Meg Whitman at HP.

    1. If Bill’s pool was 4 times the area of an Olympic-size swimming pool (50x25x2 m), and the bottom were covered with 25 million typical or standard DVD cases (190x135x14 mm), there would only be 0.818 meters of water to swim in. That’s probably plenty for his school of piranha.

      When missing the point, I strive to do so spectacularly 🙂

  2. So true. The online stats seem to give the most relevant stats on tablet usage and tablet numbers sold.

    After all, returned tablets and tablets thrown into a drawer and ignored really don’t count anyway.

    1. Maybe they do count…

      If the sales figures from x or y conpany are so much higher than actual usage stats, maybe that indicates a large number of people who will never again fall for Android / Windows.

      So ‘sales’ figures now indicate good uptake but really the inevitable is looming…you’re rip off product sucks.

  3. “A sale is a sale” this might be good for MS in the short term, but how does it give any confidenance to OEMs’ to procure future product licences?

  4. Through some glitch, Microsoft was giving away Windows 8 keys for free and I got one to replace XP on my virtual machine. Many others also got it for free and I believe these are counted among the 100 million.

    Had I been asked to pay for it, I would never have done so.

  5. Maybe it’s because I live in Seattle (the city with the highest per capita of college graduates in the entire USA), but I just don’t see a lot of PC’s out and about anymore. Any time I go t a coffee shop or the airport the majority of devices are Apple. So when I hear more Androids and Windows are sold I guess they must still be counting the computers in elevators or trash compactors because their real world presence just isn’t there.

      1. I’m in Seattle too.

        Its Microsoftland but real tech heads choose the best tool for the job.

        I think one of the funnest afternoons I had was going onto the MS Redmond campus for a job interview carrying my Macbook Pro. I spent part of the interview just showing the MS manager who was interviewing me first various aspects of OS X and how well my MBP handled windows 7 through vmware fusion and boot camp.

        I turned the job down but I swear I planted a seed for a future mac purchase in at least one persons head up there. hah!

    1. Come East to Cornell University where everyone in an office setting (except the artise’s and the VPs are stuck with Dell’s running Windows (old versions of course). But look at that huge new building going up donated by Bill and Melinda Gates on the corner just past the entrance. PC’s must have been part of the “agreement” for the donation. There is a well known dislike by the computer dept. here for Apple things.

            1. Cornell also has a mission to keep buying into poor functioning software that runs the whole underbelly of the University just because an alumni developed it:? First it was “PeopleSoft,” now it’s “Workday.” Poorly laid out, kludgie, interface, slow responses—yet the they are so excited about implementing it. Must be something better than this alumni’s buggy garbage. But he donated a building (just like Bill Gates did), called Duffield Hall. Maybe Google or Samsung should donate a building then they can be completely beholden to garbage software and hardware.

        1. Just up the road in Syracuse at the local community college, our IT department “Leadership” almost universally despises Macs and outsources nearly any question concerning them. Grudging support at best. I would also like to nominate these folks for the Most Backward Computer Department on the planet. The Computer Studies Department, the Music Department, Photography Department, and a few others (the Academics) are quite Mac-friendly and have done battle over the years to keep Macs on campus.

          1. Ithaca College is smarter, very Apple oriented. Amazing what intelligence and big picture thinking toward technology lies just over the hill right in the same city Cornell is in. So much for Ivy League smarts.

      1. Yes. most of the administrative people are forced every day to use a PC at Cornell. Because “Cornell’s custom programs run better on PCs”. Yet Firefox browsers can’t be upgraded past version 3.6.28 or most of the custom programs won’t work anymore. Plus most departments are still running Windows XP! I always thought Cornell wanted to be on top of things – on the cutting edge. But running PCs is certainly not the way to accomplish that. Across the hill over at Ithaca College, they are leaps and bounds ahead. You would think an ivy league school would be more with it. Sad state of affairs. But hey, check out the shiny new building that looks all glassy and mirrored and has Bill and Melinda’s name on it. Speaking of which – I can’t wait to see the pile of dead birds under it that will have flown into the windows. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2012/03/home-computing-and-information-science-will-rise-soon

        1. $25 million for a building guarantees a lot of Office 360 and Dell loyalty. They don’t care about the average Joe’s retardation of staff productivity to run the place as long as the new building looks nice on the admissions brochures.

  6. Most large corporations that use Windows are on volume licenses where the company pays Microsoft an annual subscription fee for the right to upgrade to the latest versions of Windows, Office and Exchange. Any company who has paid its annual subscription fee is considered by Microsoft to have “bought” Windows 8 licenses, even though no company is actually deploying Windows 8.

      1. Totally true…Mac IT guy here at USF, all we ever do is wipe and re-image down to Win7. But the machine comes with Win8 pre-installed so counts toward that mythic 100mil. As a whole the IT group here thinks Win8 is horrible…I am lucky enough to have 60-70% of my workload is Mac-centric…and don’t “touch” the win machines any more than necessary…but yeah, those numbers are horribly overblown…

  7. I saw it! I saw my first Surface-in-the-wild at Union Station in DC yesterday. I had to ask the guy about it (was holding my mini in hand at the time). He said it was a “crappy piece of sh*t” given to him by his research firm to count people coming off trains. What did he pull out of his bag?…an iPad mini.

  8. Manufacturers must be forced to license the latest OS from MS. It is the only reason I can think of that would explain why time after time they follow MS right over the cliff. This time it is Windows 8, last time it was Vista. The list goes on.

    1. MS has made it very hard for OEMs to provide a Windows 7 license to customers now that win8 has shipped.

      You’d think they learned with Vista when a mass of users were opting for Windows XP licenses but no, instead of making a better product they decided to make it damn near impossible to get a win7 license on a new machine.

      “How do you want to get f*cked today?”

  9. For a while stores in my community did not have Win7 and only had Win 8. Computers did not sell. Microsoft made it near impossible to find Win7 in its online store for a few weeks and finally relented.

    The Microsoft Booth at the IT Day today was full of Microsoft Computers (the stupid ones with the clicky backrests) with Win8 on them. Every time I walked by that booth all day, it was not visited by those attending the function. I also avoided it. I felt bad for the dude manning the booth.

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